on 04.07.2008 20:53
The automotive marketplace has seen a shift, as consumers move to more fuel-efficient models to reduce gasoline costs and the troubled economy disrupts the traditional buying patterns. As national sales figures have shown, consumers are buying thrifty, affordable models as a result, though overall sales are expected to be down for the year. No surprise, as car owners are often finding that they have less disposable income than when they last bought a car; they are resistant to compromise on size or power; some are holding out for the much-hyped plug-in hybrids; and still others have found their current gas-guzzling vehicle experienced rapid acceleration.
In the last two months, consumer interest in the overall compact car segment at NADAguides.com increased an average of 96 percent -- a fact the company's experts believe is closely related to an average nationwide increase in fuel prices of 19 cents per gallon during that same timeframe.
Having a more enthusiast-based audience than the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA), autoMedia.com sees the phenomenon translate to more searches for mainstream models and lower-trims of premium vehicles this year. For instance, we are seeing crossover vehicles as the most frequent car type searched at autoMedia.com – appealing car-based alternatives to traditional, body-on-frame SUVs.
In addition, autoMedia.com is experiencing strong interest in its used-car marketplace listings – a feature added to the redesigned Web site this year. Visitors are often researching new models and finding appealing used models suggested, as well as browsing the thousands of listed used models when conducting their used-car research in the buyer’s guide or extensive car review archive.
With car sales forecasted to be significantly down for the year, it is no surprise autoMedia.com is also seeing great interest in its hundreds of how to articles. Many articles help car owners to correct problems and advise on the proper care to help their cars remain reliable for many years. Plus, there are many articles in the Performance section that show how to enhance powertrains, suspensions, brakes, and other key components to heighten the enjoyment of a current model.
Gas prices continue to rise, hitting $3.32 today, according to the Energy Information Administration, but autoMedia.com is uniquely positioned to help consumers with buying new or used, or hold on to their own car with over 10,000 pages of exclusive, expert car reviews, technical articles, and buyer’s guides.
on 03.23.2008 20:54
Honda unveiled the all-new 2009 Honda Fit at the New York International Auto Show, revealing a model that has evolved from the first-generation car without changing the successful formula. During the press days, Honda remained tight-lipped on technical details, especially for a car that is already on sale in overseas markets.
What we do know is that the ’09 Fit is incrementally longer and wider than the outgoing model, with the base of the windshield moved five inches forward—increasing the interior space. This change allows for larger glass sail panels in the forked base of the A-pillars, enhancing visibility.
Less obvious changes include a focus on improved structure for occupant safety, adapting the much-touted Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) design approach. The fancy acronym boils down to a dedicated, computer-engineered structure that addresses common collision parameters and smartly controls forces to best protect passengers. Good stuff. In addition, the Fit includes active head restraints, side and side-curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Electronic stability control is available.
Comfort is improved by addressing driver leg room and offering a tilt/telescope steering wheel. The rear “magic seat” now performs its tumbling trickery in one motion, opening up a massive, flat cargo space. A rare offering in this class, an in-dash navigation system will be offered.
Honda promises improved dynamics through body stiffness, suspension refinement, and larger wheels – now 15 or 16 inches. The powerplant will be a new 1.5-liter VTEC engine partnered with a five-speed manual or automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. No horsepower or fuel economy claims were released.
The 2009 Honda Fit goes on sale in the United States this fall, and more details are promised closer to its arrival at dealerships.
Research the 2008 Honda Fit in the buyer’s guide. See our 2007 Honda Fit review.
on 03.12.2008 21:42
At the North American International Auto Show, aka Detroit auto show, Honda displayed a hybrid concept vehicle whose appearance and name instantly conjured fond memories of the sporty, second-generation CRX. It feels like the right model, at the right time – an affordable, hybrid coupe radiating personality.
Thus far, Honda has been mum on technical details, but it is presumed to have an evolution of the Civic Hybrid’s powertrain. Placed in a smaller, lighter-weight car, this mild powertrain would have more verve than in the staid sedan, though the sports character would likely come from its handling acumen.
In theory, such concepts are shown at major auto shows to gauge attendee reaction and prepare the public for a production model. However, there isn’t always a means to give direct feedback. In this case, Honda has posted a survey on its consumer site. (CR-Z survey.) It also has a special section for previewing other concepts and future models, including the redesign Fit schedule to debut next week. We’ll have the scoop here once the cover is pulled back in New York.
For now, what do you think of the CR-Z? Fill out the survey, and share your comments below.
See our highlights from the 2008 Detroit auto show. Research Honda models in our buyer's guide.